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Mauricio Pochettino: 'Winter break would help English clubs in Europe'

Pochettino: 'Winter break would help clubs'
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Mauricio Pochettino suggests that an obsession with winning the Premier League and a lack of winter break is behind English clubs' struggles in the Champions League.

Tottenham Hotspur manager Mauricio Pochettino has reiterated that the recent struggles of English sides in Europe is down to a lack of winter break.

The Premier League has produced just two Champions League semi-finalists in the last five seasons, while Chelsea are the only side to have gone all the way in the past nine years.

Pochettino, whose Tottenham side crashed out of the competition at the group stage in 2016-17, also believes that an obsession with winning the Premier League is to blame for holding English teams back.

"The busy period is Christmas, when other competitions like La Liga, Serie A and the Bundesliga rest and don't compete," he told reporters. "The consequence is not arriving in the best condition for the key moments of the Champions League and the Europa League. But we cannot change.

"That's England, that's the culture and we have to be clever to find a different way to be competitive. The Premier League is the principal competition for every player that plays in the Premier League. The feeling in Italy is that the Champions League is the most important competition in the world, but in English culture the Premier League is the most important. And the FA Cup.

"The Champions League and Europa League are important but not on the same level. That is so difficult to explain outside - only when you are here can you realise the Premier League is massive for every single club, and the players too. In Spain or Italy they prioritise the Champions League rather than the domestic league. And the teams at another [lower] level prioritise the Europa League rather than the domestic league. That is massive."

Spurs begin their European campaign on Wednesday night with a home match against Borussia Dortmund.

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Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Christian Eriksen in action during the Premier League clash with Liverpool at Anfield on February 11, 2017
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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Liverpool66001421218
2Manchester CityMan City65101931616
3Chelsea55001441015
4Watford6411116513
5Tottenham HotspurSpurs6402127512
6Manchester UnitedMan Utd631299010
7Bournemouth63121011-110
8Leicester CityLeicester6303111019
9Arsenal530210919
10Wolverhampton WanderersWolves62316609
11Crystal Palace621346-27
12Everton513189-16
13Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton6123811-35
14Southampton612369-35
15Fulham6123813-55
16Burnley6114710-34
17West Ham UnitedWest Ham5104511-63
18Newcastle UnitedNewcastle602448-42
19Cardiff CityCardiff6024314-112
20Huddersfield TownHuddersfield6024314-112

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